Creating a fairer Britain
Clauses 1-3 provides for the repeal of the Identity Cards Act 2006, that no ID cards are issued following the passing of the Bill and for the requirement to destroy all information recorded in the National Identity Register within two months of Royal Assent.
The Commission welcomes the provisions of the Identity Document Bill, in particular the repeal of the Identity Cards Act 2006 and the destruction of information recorded on the National Identity Register.
The Commission had concerns regarding the need for and operation of these provisions. In particular, the Commission was concerned that the use of identity cards had the potential to have a negative impact on ethnic minority groups and on good relations.
While the Commission therefore welcomes this Bill, we have concerns that the regime for identity cards for foreign nationals will remain in place, due to the existing provisions under the UK Borders Act 2007. The Commission has concerns that such provisions have the potential to further discriminate against both foreign nationals and ethnic minorities, and to harm good relations.
The Commission considers that the collection, retention and dissemination of data on individuals, including through identity cards and a National Identity Register, impacts on the right to private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Commission refers to the report Commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust1 that concluded that 1/4 of public sector databases were illegal under human rights or data protection law.
The Commission considers that is an urgent need for a wider review of the legal and regulatory schemes for the collection, processing and dissemination of information privacy.
The Commission is carrying out a research project which is considering the current regimes of the protection of information privacy, their adequacy, gaps in protections and possible routes to reform of the current protections of information privacy.
The Commission anticipates that the report with findings and recommendations for future actions will be published in September 2010. The Commission then hopes to work closely with relevant stakeholders, the Government and policy makers to take the recommendations of the research forward.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006. The Commission works to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations, and promote and protect human rights.
Last year, the Commission achieved ‘A’ status accreditation as a National Human Rights Institution, enabling us to participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council, and to undertake monitoring of the UK’s human rights obligations.
As a regulator, the Commission is responsible for enforcing equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encouraging compliance with the Human Rights Act. It also gives advice and guidance on businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.
Parliamentary Affairs Officer
Tel: 020 3117 0312
1 R. Anderson, I. Brown, T. Dowty, P. Inglesant, W. Heath, A. Sasse; Database State, 2009: http://www.jrrt.org.uk/uploads/Database%20State.pdf